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Published August 04, 2010, 12:00 AM

Renville Co. debating its options for sugar co-op proceedings

OLIVIA — The Renville County Board of Commissioners may make an offer to the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to seek a mediated settlement to the ongoing litigation over property taxes.

By: Tom Cherveny, West Central Tribune

OLIVIA — The Renville County Board of Commissioners may make an offer to the Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative to seek a mediated settlement to the ongoing litigation over property taxes.

The commissioners held a closed meeting Tuesday to discuss the litigation. County Attorney David Torgelson said afterward that the commissioners indicated that they may propose that the two sides meet once the Minnesota Court of Appeals issues a ruling on the case. Both sides presented oral arguments last month before the appeals court.

The court is likely to issue a ruling within 90 days, but that doesn’t necessarily assure the end of litigation. A ruling could be further appealed to the state Supreme Court.

The two sides have been locked in litigation for more than five years now, and issues in the matter have been heard in District Court as well as by both the Court of Appeals and the Minnesota Supreme Court without final resolution.

At stake is more than $500,000 the sugar company pays annually in property taxes in Renville County.

The company is seeking to have the assessed value of the plant and its property lowered from $40 million to $8.5 million.

The lawsuits cover taxes paid by the company dating to 2004-05.

The county has recorded legal fees well in excess of $1 million in the ongoing litigation.

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